Momentum Podcast: 584
It Isn't Your Mindset That is the Issue
by Alex Charfen
On a recent live training I held for entrepreneurs of every size business, I had the opportunity to speak directly to an issue in the business of a very special entrepreneur. We had an amazing conversation, and it started out–as it does for so many entrepreneurs who are running multimillion-dollar businesses–with her feeling like there was something wrong with her. She felt like she needed to shift her mindset or change her thinking around this issue. Something she was doing in front of her team that did not make her appear “as her full, authentic self.” Once the conversation concluded, the concerns about her mindset, herself, and how she was showing up to her team significantly changed.
I offered her an entirely different solution to her problem. If you're trying to grow and scale a business, mindset often has far less to do with the issues you’re facing than is perceived in the market today. Instead, I could see that Lori was dealing with something that could only be adequately fixed by surrounding herself with a process that allowed her to show up in front of her team in a predictable, reliable, and stable way. This was not about her mindset, it was about the process.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum Podcast.
This week, I did an Ask Me Anything webinar where we let entrepreneurs from around the world join us and get their questions answered. And I had a particularly interesting interaction with an entrepreneur named Lori who runs a larger company and felt like she had a mindset issue or a challenge she needed to correct with herself. I think you'll be surprised at how we examine the mindset issue and realize it was something else entirely that is going to help her scale and grow her business.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be we, endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
I'll set this interaction up for you briefly. Lori and I had an amazing conversation, and it started out, like it does for so many entrepreneurs who are running multimillion dollar businesses, with her feeling like there was something wrong with her, like a mindset shift she needed to make, a way she needed to change her thinking. Something she was doing in front of her team that did not make her appear, as they said, "as her full, authentic self." As you see when we go through this issue as Lori and I talk about it, the concerns about her mindset or herself or how she's showing up significantly changed, and I offered her an entirely different solution. If you're trying to grow and scale a business, I think that this interaction with Lori and I is going to be game changing for you. Lori, are you there?
Lori: I am here.
Alex Charfen: Fantastic. I'm just going to read your question and then we can have the discussion. It says, "My leadership team at our last quarterly meeting told me they want me to be more authentic with the whole team. I often feel like I have to wear my broadcaster face with the team or they won't take me as seriously as I'd like. I also have a loud inner critic which I struggle to control daily. I would love techniques I can use when I'm going into these teams. P.S., I'm an too." Lori, can you give me a narrative there from yourself? What is going on?
Lori: Sure. I own a group. I'm a dental support organization, so I have a large team of doctors, and then their supporting staff.
Alex Charfen: How many people on your team?
Lori: I have just less than 30.
Alex Charfen: Okay.
Lori: Five doctors and then the supporting team.
Alex Charfen: Okay. And when they say that they want you to be more authentic, what do you think they mean? Because let's get real, this whole conversation about authenticity means all types of different things, given the context.
Alex Charfen: Basically, what do you think your team's asking for?
Lori: I think what they're saying is that they see me on a more regular basis and so they get to know me on a deeper, more personal level. And so I think that they see the truer version of myself. Plus they mentioned they've traveled with me to different events and so they see that side of me, but they feel like I don't bring that when I'm going into the day-to-day with the teams, that I'm more serious. I'm not as vulnerable maybe or just not the authentic self that they see.
Alex Charfen: I just want to make sure I'm hearing. When you're in a casual environment with them or when they're traveling with you or when there's something that's not in the day-to-day, normal normalcy, they see a different side of you than when you're running the business day-to-day.
Lori: Partly that, but I also think that when we have these quarterly leadership meetings or our monthly leadership meetings too, I'm very open about the vision and the purpose and passion that we have for our organization. And then when I get it down into the team level, I almost feel it's kind of weird, but I almost feel embarrassed to talk about it with the team. I feel like I'm being judged or that's where the inner critic comes in, and so I don't let that true leader and visionary show through with the team.
Alex Charfen: Why do you think that is, Lori?
Lori: I really think it has to do with the inner critic. I'm feeling less confidence, not deserving. I think that's my biggest thing is that I don't feel deserving to provide this and have an impact on people like we probably do.
Alex Charfen: I just want to make sure that I'm clear on where you think this is motivated from, Lori, because you have a 30-person team. This is your business, right?
Alex Charfen: Did you start it?
Alex Charfen: Can I ask what the annual revenue is?
Lori: We're about $5 million right now.
Alex Charfen: Okay. So I want you to know something about yourself, Lori. 3% of business owners ever get to $1 million in annual revenue. A very small percentage of those are women, and of those that get to $1 million, a very small, small, small percentage of those ever achieve five. Were you aware of statistics like that before this call?
Lori: Yes, actually.
Alex Charfen: Okay, because you're extraordinary. I get the inner critic. A lot of what we're dealing here is that you've created an extraordinary level of success, which creates a different level of pressure for an entrepreneur. Is that fair?
Alex Charfen: Okay. And here's what often happens for me when I'm listening to someone and I hear things like "inner critic" or "I feel like it's me." Here's my question. When it comes to communicating with the team in these meetings and in the places where they feel like maybe you're not being your full self, how clear ... who's running those meetings?
Lori: When it's the team, it's typically the office managers.
Alex Charfen: So you're a participant in those meetings?
Lori: Oftentimes, yes. Not always.
Alex Charfen: Okay. What do you mean by not always?
Lori: I will participate definitely in the quarterly meetings but I don't go to their meetings that they have, the regular cadence meetings that they do twice a month. Not always.
Alex Charfen: Got it. Are you in our program, Lori?
Lori: I am not.
Alex Charfen: Okay, because you use a lot of our language. It sounds like you're using our systems, so-
Lori: I've listened to all your podcasts. I probably follow most of what you say.
Alex Charfen: So is your team ... What I just heard was you're doing monthlies, or sorry, you're doing 90-day meetings and then biweekly meetings?
Lori: It depends on the team. Yeah. We have the office teams and then I have a leadership team. And so depending on the level, we have daily huddles with all of our offices, but then the office managers, they meet weekly. I meet weekly with my executive team and then we do quarterly planning meetings with each of the teams and then with the leadership team as well.
Alex Charfen: So at the leadership ... I want to talk about the central leadership team. At the leadership level, you're doing a 90-day meeting with them and then they're executing for the 90 days. You're not in the other meetings?
Lori: Correct. Less and less over time, actually.
Alex Charfen: With the leadership team?
Lori: Yeah. It used to be that I was there every single time, but I'm trying to do the transformational leadership and pass some of that down.
Alex Charfen: And so you're not in the monthly meetings with them?
Lori: Not with the teams in the locations, no.
Alex Charfen: Okay. But you are in the monthly meeting with your leadership team?
Lori: Yes. Yes. Always. Sorry.
Alex Charfen: Okay. So at the highest level you're ... okay. So Lori, there's a few things that this could be. So one is, gosh. What I'm hearing, and I don't know. I want to ask a few more questions. I'm not hearing that this is a you issue yet, with the feeling like you're not worthy or feeling like you're not showing up the right way. Do you feel like the process through which you communicate with the greater team is clear?
Lori: Maybe not.
Alex Charfen: Okay, so if you're-
Lori: I feel like I have less and less contact with them as we've gotten bigger.
Alex Charfen: Yeah. And so is there a routine way that the rest of the team is seeing you? Like, do they know when they can expect you? They know when they can see you? Because if that's absent, this is the type of feedback we usually get in the teams we coach.
Lori: Actually no, it's become less consistent because I've been focusing more on the consistency with the leadership team and delegation. Alex Charfen: Check this out, Lori. See if this resonates. By the way, I want to put this out there. I don't think this is a you problem. I don't think this is a mindset problem. I don't think this is a how you show up problem. I think this is a process issue, and see if this resonates. Lori.
When you're growing a business from, let's be honest, under $1 million, you're just doing everything you can to stay alive. Do you remember that period?
Lori: Oh, yes. Hard to forget.
Alex Charfen: Yeah. So yeah, and how awesome is it that you're past it, right? And so what happens is as you grow past the one to three million, here's what happens in a lot of teams, is that from one to three million, your contact with key people on the team actually increases. Your contact with the greater team actually decreases and becomes less frequent.
And what we find is that above three million, that equation actually becomes more aggressive. Like, three to 10 million, you're not spending even more time with leadership, even less time with the greater team. Does this resonate so far?
Lori: Absolutely. Yeah.
Alex Charfen: So here's the key, lori. We need to put systems in this run from three to 10. In our cadence we create a structure where the greater team always knows where they're going to hear from you or in my case hear from me.
I'll give you an example. In our company, as that equation happens where I need to spend more time with leadership and less time with the greater team, we maintain my contact with the team through our culture meetings which we just had today, it was incredible, through our monthly all-hands meeting where we tell everybody what we're going to be doing, I'm in it, I don't run the meeting, but I do contribute through our monthly results meetings where we are ... our monthly waterfall meeting where we show everybody what the strategic plan is, and then in our daily huddles.
And here's what's interesting, Mary, because my team knows that they're going to have these four interactions with me and they know that I'm going to be in the daily huddle and they know when they're going to hear summary information from me, I don't ever hear communication challenging how I communicate with my team. And this is why I did not jump in with you on the potential that this could be a you problem. Because when I talk to an entrepreneur who has grown a business to $5 million, I know that mindset and those types of things, we might think it's that. Most of the time it isn't. Most of the time it's a process issue. So does it resonate that as you've spent less time with your team, they're telling you they want you to be more authentic, might just be that they want you to be more consistent and present?
Lori: It probably is that. And actually, now that you say that, the thing of course that comes to my mind is, I'm always worried that when I do show up in these teams, they're going to suck up all my time and my energy.
Alex Charfen: Well, see, now, there, there's the thing, Lori. Now we've gotten to the root of the challenge. Let's say it again. What did you just say?
Lori: That I feel I almost get anxiety over going into the teams because I feel like they're just going to suck up my time and energy.
Alex Charfen: So Lori, that's what your team is feeling.
Alex Charfen: Does that make sense?
Lori: How do I fix it? Yes.
Alex Charfen: How do you fix it?
Alex Charfen: But I want to just pause for a second here, and I want everyone who's listening, who has a team, to really let this sink in. It doesn't matter how you're showing up, your team absorbs how you're feeling. And so Lori, if you're feeling anxious and if you're feeling like you're going to get drawn into something, that's probably making you show up in a way that does not feel authentic to the team, or does not feel fully connected and engaged to the team. In fact, it absolutely makes sense that if you feel like you're going to get sucked in and you're anxious about it, that you're probably not fully engaged and really in it with them. Is that fair?
Lori: Yeah, absolutely.
Alex Charfen: Okay, so here's how you fix this. And Lori, I want you to know something. This can absolutely be corrected. The way it's corrected is by putting rigorous process in place to where you never have responsibility of [inaudible 00:12:56] in a meeting, because you're the CEO, and you can't get sucked into responsibility because you're the CEO. And the way that ... and I know you've listened to all the podcasts, the way that we do that when we're working one-on-one with a client or we're working to implement our cadence with a client is because they're ... And one other question for your business. In the forward planning system that you have, like where you're creating your strategic plan, how involved is the team?
Lori: The leadership team is very involved in the big picture and then we do quarterly and annual plan and planning with the team at the practice levels as well. Because I've learned the hard way that if I don't involve them, they don't buy in. I want them to own it.
Alex Charfen: Exactly. Okay, good. So you're doing the right things planning. So here's where I think that there's an adjustment that could make a major difference in your business, Lori, is first, creating a structure where you don't feel anxiety walking into a meeting. And talking to your leadership team about, this is how I feel walking into meetings, so you guys can't let this happen to me. And then creating a structure around when the team is going to know you show up, because see if this resonates, Mary. Sometimes teams will draw your attention when you're there because they don't know when they're going to talk to you again.
Alex Charfen: Does that make sense?
Lori: Yeah, it does, but I've always thought of it the other way around, is that I would create anxiety for them if they knew when I was going to be showing up.
Alex Charfen: Now let's play through that, Lori. What would you rather have? Let's think of Lori as a seven or eight-year-old child. What would you rather have? Warning that you're going to have a test or a pop quiz?
Lori: Warning for a test, of course.
Alex Charfen: So does your team.
Alex Charfen: Every interaction with you, they want to know that it's coming, and every interaction ... Lori, here's how we do it in our company. My team knows every interaction they're going to have with me for the rest of the year, so there's no anxiety around it. It's just what's normal, and because it's routine, it's not extraordinary when they have an interaction with me, so they never feel like, oh, this is the only time ... Here's what I'm intuitively feeling. See if this resonates. Because your team doesn't know when they're going to see you, and you're the CEO, clearly the most important person in the business, when you enter a meeting with them, that feeling that you're getting could potentially be them saying, "Let's get everything we can out of Lori for these next however many minutes we have her, because we're not going to see her again."
Lori: Sure. That makes a lot of sense.
Alex Charfen: That's where I think you are right now, Lori.
Alex Charfen: So I think you're already doing a lot of stuff that we talk about, but I'd recommend you jump on a call with Jeremy. He's in sales for our team, but he's really a consultant, and if you spend an hour on a call with Jeremy, he'll ask you enough questions that will probably reveal some opportunities you have. We could potentially show you where we can help you. But I don't want you to pursue a mindset solution to this. It's not. This is a process solution.
Lori: Okay, well, I'm glad to hear that because I am much better at putting processes in place than changing my mindset.
Alex Charfen: Well, and you know what, Lori, here's what I can tell you about working now with hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurs who ... and a lot, very big percentage, that are introvert women, is that almost always, my clients who are introvert women think it's a mindset or them issue. Not almost always, let's just get real. It's 100% of the time.
Lori: Yeah, for sure.
Alex Charfen: Like, "There's a problem in the business. It's probably me," but there's this other thing going on. And so here's one of the things I want you to start thinking about to really grow this business, Lori, is that it's going to be about you less and less. And it's going to be about process and structure and infrastructure being built at the right time and the right way more and more.
And so for entrepreneurs like you, that should be a huge sigh of relief, because clearly you're good at process. You're at $5 million, you've got to be really good at process. And so if you can just continue to build those processes, this you're not authentic with the team will wane. And the way you show up for them consistently, because ... See if this makes sense. If you're showing up consistently, if they know you're coming, if they know what you're going to talk about, and then you do it, you build trust. And when teams trust the leader, they think they're authentic, they believe they're authentic, they know they're authentic.
Lori: Okay, awesome. I love it. Thank you.
Alex Charfen: Yeah, you got it, Lori. And if anybody hasn't told you this, congratulations, you're beating the odds, and it's inspiring to hear. And in the medical industry, I know some of this stuff that you're up against. We go to a lot of companies in this space and to be at $5 million is awesome.
Lori: Thank you. I appreciate you.
Alex Charfen: Yeah, you got it. Appreciate you being here and thanks for the transparency and letting us work through it. That was fun.
Lori: Thank you.
Alex Charfen: It's amazing when an entrepreneur like Lori is that transparent and that real and that forthcoming on a call, because I think I learned from it. I know the people listening to it learned from it and I think she learned from it. You know, so often as entrepreneurs we feel like we are doing something wrong and we feel like we need to correct ourselves, like there's wrong with us.
Well, there's a reason that we often say, "There is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone," because then as an entrepreneur, we want you to step into yourself, become more of who you are, show up as more of exactly who you want to be. And the way you do that consistently, repeatedly, is through process.
If you'd like to jump on a call with a member of my team and understand more about how we can help you move towards process so that you can show up in the right way in your business, grow it like crazy, gain the revenue you want, and be the leader you've always known you could be, go to predictablebusinesssolutions.com. Answer a few questions for my team, and you will get a chance to set up a momentum session where we will jump on a call with you, go through your business, help you understand what you should be looking at right now to create the most momentum, and you will leave the call with an understanding of what will move you forward fast. Predictablebusinesssolutions.com. Take a minute now, answer some questions, and set up a call with my team. Predictablebusinesssolutions.com.